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Saturday, January 16, 2016

What makes me truthier than you?

I just finished my book extolling postmodern thinking. If I do say so myself, I think it's pretty good. Now to get it out. I have some help in that. I'll use it for a talk I'm giving and a course I am teaching and so hope to get feedback. I also hope to have an editor and advisor soon. (However, if you want to look it over, I would be glad to send it for your comments.)

I lay out the difference in thinking in the various stages of pre-modern times. Then I show the difference that the modern paradigm makes, beginning with the Enlightenment, scientific revolution, on through the industrial revolution and the technological twentieth century. Postmodernism I attempt to show is a much different way of thinking in art, science, philosophy, religion, and ordinary common sense. I claim that it might be a way our of the conundrums of modernity.

But how can I claim that postmodern thinking is better than modern? And what will make post-postmodern thinking even better. Since I reject absolute criteria for making judgments, how can I claim being better?

I claim it because postmodern thinking can include, understand, and accept the earlier ways of thinking. When I was taking theology, I professed that I could understand and accept the Nicene Creed--even though the propositions I found nonsensical for the modern age. and required a bifurcated brain.

While finding many of the early dogmas of the Church untrue from a modern (much less postmodern) point of view and belief system, nevertheless I could analyze those beliefs in the context in which they were uttered to explain and even defend them. When I did, my professors usually thought I was being heretical. But while they could not understand and accept my propositions, I could understand and accept theirs. So I could say the Apostle's Creed with impunity (though I preferred not to).

To use Stephen Colbert's language, my truthiness was truthier than their truthiness. I wasn't denying their truths, but I was rejecting them as inadequate for me and others in a new context. I think that the same is true for my postmodern language, narrative, understanding, or myth as I describe it in my new book. I doubt that many modern thinkers will understand or be able to accept postmodern thinking. Many will find it nihilistic in philosophy, relativistic in morality, unprincipled in politics, and unrealistic in economics.

Yet I do hope to introduce them to the possibility of seeing that it is modern thinking that is the culprit for these charges and postmodern thinking is the way out. Many, whether righties or lefties or centrists, will see my thinking as heresy in religion and politics and condemn it. The more this happens; the more I will know that I am on the right track.

I've begun to wonder what the next imaginative system for thinking after postmodernism will bring. But I think I am now stuck and need someone else to shock me out of my truthiness.

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